Disorders Of Vitamin Absorption | Nutrition

Disorders Of Vitamin Absorption

What are the disorders of vitamin absorption?

There are many types of disorders of vitamin absorption. The causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of each vary. Biotin deficiency can lead to skin rashes, weight loss, hair loss, and numbness. Foods high in biotin are liver, egg yolk, soybeans, milk, and meat.

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to pernicious anemia and neurological deterioration. Children with short bowel syndrome who have lost their ileocecal valve are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal foods.
  • Folate deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemia, neural tube defects in the fetus of a pregnant woman, and an impaired immune system. Folate is found in green and leafy vegetables.
  • Niacin deficiency can lead to dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia (also called pellagra). Foods high in niacin include milk, eggs, whole grains, and enriched cereals and grains.
  • Vitamin A deficiency can present with night blindness, dry eyes, and skin, as well as poor bone growth and poor immune syndrome. It is often seen in children with liver disease because these patients cannot absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States and can lead to bone diseases like rickets. Foods rich in vitamin D include fortified milk, fish, liver, and egg yolk. Recent studies suggest that patients with chronic inflammatory conditions, like inflammatory bowel disease, can benefit from correction of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is also common in liver disease.
  • Vitamin E deficiency can present with hemolytic anemia in preterm infants and fat malabsorption causes deficiency and hyporeflexia. Foods high in vitamin E include sardines, green and leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, butter, liver, and egg yolk.
  • Vitamin K deficiency is a rare primary deficiency but can occur in the setting of liver disease. Other signs of this deficiency include bleeding and possibly poor bone mineral density. Foods high in vitamin K include cow’s milk, green leafy vegetables, pork, and liver.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

This type of anemia means that your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells because you are low in vitamin B12. These cells transport oxygen throughout your body. You need vitamins including B12. When you do not have enough red blood cells, your body does not get the oxygen it needs to work. Anemia may make you feel tired, weak, and short of breath.

Causes of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia

You can get vitamin B12 deficiency anemia if you do not get enough vitamin B12 in your diet from foods like milk, eggs, and meat. You are more likely to be low in this vitamin if you are older, or you eat a vegetarian diet. It can also happen if your body can not absorb enough vitamin B12 from the foods you eat.

Your intestines absorb vitamin B12 from food. A protein your stomach makes called “intrinsic factor” helps your body absorb it. When you do not have enough, you have a type of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia called “pernicious anemia.”

You can get pernicious anemia if:

  • You have an autoimmune disease that makes your immune system attack the cells in your stomach that produce intrinsic factor.
  • You have surgery to remove part of your stomach, where intrinsic factor is made.

Conditions that affect the stomach

  • Certain stomach conditions or operations can prevent you from getting enough vitamin B12.
  • For example, a gastrectomy, a surgical procedure that removes part of your stomach, increases the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Conditions that affect the intestines

Most people don’t like to talk about it, but having a gastrointestinal problem is common.

There’s no need to suffer in silence, though. Here are the most prevalent digestive conditions. If you suspect you have one of these issues, don’t delay in speaking with a healthcare professional.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Gallstones
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Some types of medicines can reduce the amount of vitamin B12 in your body. For example, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), sometimes used to treat indigestion, exacerbate vitamin B12 deficiency.

Functional vitamin B12 deficiency

Functional cobalamin (Cbl, vitamin B12) deficiency (that is, high levels of the Cbl-dependent metabolites, methylmalonic acid (MMA), and homocysteine (HCys), despite normal serum Cbl values) is common in the elderly and is associated with neurocognitive abnormalities, but its cause is unknown. As only reduced Cbls are metabolically active, the possibility that functional Cbl deficiency is associated with disorders having biomarkers indicative of increased oxidative stress (oxidant risks) was considered.

Major Facts of Vitamin deficiencies

  • Deficiency of vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium is present among 50% of Americans.
  • 33% of children under the age of five from developing countries have a deficiency of vitamin A. This
    deficiency causes low immunity and night blindness.
  • An estimated 259 to 500 million children in the world are becoming blind every year due to deficiency of
    vitamin A and half of them die within a year of losing their vision.
  • Vitamin D is important in the prevention of osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer and
    research indicates that its deficiency may cause diabetes and obesity.
  • Sun is a natural source of vitamin D, however, its deficiency is quite common. Almost 90% of colored
    Americans are deficient in vitamin D and the deficiency is 70% among elderly Americans. the figures are similar in other countries.
  • There is a popular belief that vitamin B12 deficiency is often seen among vegetarians but this is not true. However, what you need to know is that low vitamin B12 levels in vegetarians with elevated homocysteine levels were linked to early death due to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause infertility or recurrent spontaneous abortion.
  • Deficiency of vitamin B6 or folic acid during pregnancy is associated with Neural Tube Defect among newborns.


vitaminany of a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolismMore (Definitions, Synonyms, Translation)

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